Unparalleled Combat
August 3, 1952 — The Odessa American

The Mossadegh Project | April 22, 2021                           


A lengthy editorial on the Korean War in The Odessa American newspaper in Odessa, Texas.

Korean War media archive



Funny War

THOSE WHO were old enough in 1939 to know what was going on in the world will remember that for some time after the war with Hitler commenced, military action was so slow on both sides that someone called it a “phony” war. The phrase caught on and was heard everywhere. But is wasn’t a war that was phony; it was the phrase.

So now people are saying that the war in Korea is a “funny” kind of war. It surely is not “funny.”

A war in which there have been 110,000 casualties in the American forces and perhaps half a million on the Chinese-North Korean side, is no joke. The only joke was in calling it a police action. But the war in Korea is certainly peculiar; so peculiar that the like of it has never been fought before. Alexander the Great, Xerxes, Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Robert E. Lee and U.S. Grant never heard of a war like this.

Suppose President Lincoln had advised General Grant to fight his way to within, say 10 miles of Richmond but not to take Richmond. Or had ordered General Meade to fight at Gettysburg not three days but 300 days and to take good care not to win. “Just stand your ground, General, and keep on standing until further orders.”

Until further orders not from your own government, the U.S.A., but from a group of governments, among them Afghanistan, Hindustan and Monaco! who are telling the U.S.A. how the war shall be fought.

SUPPOSE LINCOLN had ordered Sherman to proceed to Atlanta but not to the sea. Suppose the English war Office had directed Wellington to drive Napoleon out of Waterloo but not out of Belgium. Or suppose the Pope had agreed that the Crusaders should drive the Moslem back from Vienna but not all the way to Constantinople. Would not those valiant warriors have cried out in fury, “What kind of war is this?” Well, we have a war of that kind on our hands right, now, and no American is supposed to see anything strange about it.

If he calls it a phony war or a funny war, he is held guilty of a crime somewhat akin to lese majesty. But that isn’t all. In the kind of war we are now waging if we are waging war some of our allies are shipping supplies and war material to the enemy. Our enemy and their enemy. Yes, their boys are fighting and dying at the front with ours while their business men, with the consent and connivance of their own government are at the back door handing in weapons or the makings of weapons to the enemy.

The fact that English business has pulled out of China does not mean that the English are not doing business with China. Our government makes no protest, or only a token protest because, believe it or not, our own government was until recently guilty of the same sort of treachery. Congress has now passed a law forbidding Americans to trade with Red China, but has not empowered the President to ignore the law when he sees fit.

SO LET’S HATE the parallel again.

Suppose that in our Revolution the French, who had sent Lafayette and Rochambeau to help us, were also sending men and ships and supplies to England to be used against us. Impossible. Impossible then but not impossible now? Nothing is impossible in this strangest of all wars.

England is now fighting on our side, yet the English government maintains diplomatic relations with Red China which is, as England very well knows, the real enemy behind the puppet North Korea.

But who are we that we should complain against England for maintaining ostensibly friendly relations with our enemy? We are doing it ourselves. We are sitting day after day in consultation with Russia for “the purpose of bringing about peace”. This is not phony or funny but just simply crazy. And how about the recent and humiliating experience at the prison camp on Koje.

What does all Asia think of fighting with up-to-date weapons, prisoners behind barbed wire armed only with knives and homemade spears? Must we blunder in a hundred ways in a war that was due to blundering?

John Foster Dulles in a speech at New York, declared that the whole policy of containment was “futile,” that it is “doomed to failure” and that it “exhausts the defenders” by efforts beyond what their economies can support. But the Korean war is a war of containment.

So why the Korean war? It is the most illogical and indefensible as well as the most curious war in which America or any nation has ever engaged.

Impeach Truman | Chicago Tribune’s front page editorial (1951)
Impeach Truman | Chicago Tribune editorial (April 12, 1951)

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Related links:

Alibis From the Generalissimo | New York Daily News, June 26, 1951

Truman Held to Blame for Getting U.S. in War | Oct. 18, 1951 (Letter)

History Repeats Itself | Hamilton Butler on Korea and Iran, July 1, 1951



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